Friday, April 3, 2009

Better food, less waste


Did you know that in the UK, each household throws away around £420 worth of food a year? Not only is this a terrible waste – of food, resources and energy – but plain immoral when other people are going hungry.
A possible small benefit of these economically tough times is that more of us are thinking twice about waste and throwing away our hard-earned cash.
Here’s EcoHip’s top 5 ways to cut down on food waste.

1 Bulk buy

Stock up on staples and things that can be stored for ages (eg, rice, pasta, tins and cartons of orange juice) and then shop as locally as possible for fresh produce. You’re less likely to end up with uneaten 3-for-2 packs of meat and fish or more mandarins than you can humanly eat if you buy what you need, when you need it.


2 Make friends with your freezer

Frozen food doesn’t have to mean oven chips and ice-cream. Do a big home cook-up and then freeze portions of meals, from soups to pasta sauces. If you can tell you’re not going to get through a loaf of bread before it goes stale, bung half in the freezer – especially if it’s already sliced.


3 Help food last longer

Top and tail carrots as soon as you buy them; keep apples in the fridge and store olive oil somewhere cool and dry. A nifty and cheap way to extend the lifespan of fruit and veg in your fridge is buying an EGG, which stands for Ethylene Gas Guardian.
Many fruits and vegetables give off ethylene gas as they ripen, and if they’re in the fridge this gas gets trapped, so the produce starts to rot. The EGG cuts ethylene levels in your fridge, so produce lasts longer. If you're curious about the EGG, it's that stylish blue eggy thing nestling among some fruity friends in the picture above!
You can buy yours from EcoHip (www.ecohip.org).

4 Make meal plans

Previous generations used to have fish on Friday; roast on Sunday. You don’t have to be rigid, but planning ahead means you won’t have that feeling when you get back from the shops of having lots of ‘stuff’ but nothing that makes a meal. You’re also less prone to distracting offers.


5 Love soups

Even in the spring, a hearty soup can hit the spot. And it’s the perfect way to use up bottom-of-the-fridge veggies or chicken leftovers. Stock up on fresh herbs and spices, or ingredients like coconut milk, to vary flavours. What’s more, making a soup is as quick as waiting for a ready meal to cook. The www.lovefoodhatewaste.com site has plenty of ‘rescue recipes’ for leftovers.

Got any similar tips? Let us know - we'd love to hear your waste-saving ideas.



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7 comments:

Earth Friendly Goodies said...

That's interesting about the EGG I hadn't heard about that - I just recently bought some of the "green bags" that are supposed to let the ethylene gas escape but I don't know if they work any better yet. I will have to look up the EGG - a much more stylish and unobtrusive method. :)

Den said...

Just stumbled across your blog looking for support & inspiration. Loving it! The only thing I'd add to your list is 'Grow your own'. You don't even need a garden - a few pots and you can have cut & come again lettuce all summer, fresh chillies when you need them etc, all for a fraction of the price!

Shannon said...

Thanks for the tips on making food last. To eliminate waste caused from using plastic baggies to pack lunches for myself and two kids, I've started using the sandwich wraps and snack bags from www.ecolunchgear.com. I've found that they dry very quickly, and I like that they are oversized and can be used as a placemat. Please keep those tips coming!

Planet Playground said...

How about composting scraps? Composting is great for not only outdoor plants, but indoor plants as well. Composting allows the nutrients from your scraps to turn into plant food.
-Kristen
http://www.theplanetsaplayground.blogspot.com

James said...

These are very interesting, real and cool ideas about food saving and environment cleaning.

In UK and US, they waste too much foods but if you come in India and China, you will find that many are dieing because they don't have to eat. They are making it unbalance. If they will apply your given ideas, i am sure we can see the balance.

Our environment will be safe and live of others as well.

Thanks
James from online eco shop

AliT said...

I think these are very useful tips. I especially like the part about only buying nonperishable foods in bulk. I always end up throwing stuff away when I buy fresh in bulk. I hadn't heard about the EGG either. It's definitely something I'm going to look into. www.sunpack.com/blog/

Levinson Axelrod said...

Wonderful tips. Thanks for the ecofriendly advice.